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Wind claims SG finals after Kroell crash

Ten men started. Eight finished. The weather won again taking its third and fourth race of the Lenzerheide World Cup Finals. Yesterday a thick fog shrouding the bottom of the course took the downhills. Today some fog and a considerable amount of snow overnight played a role but primarily it was wind claiming the super G’s.

Originally scheduled to start at 9:30, the men’s super G was started at one. The first racer, Gauthier DeTessiere had a narrow escape off a roll that allowed wind under his skis and then blew him to left. The jury delayed the start after his run, re-starting after a wait of about a half an hour.

Ivica Kostelic, with more race starts than anyone in the race also had a narrow escape. Patrick Kueng crashed and Klaus Kroell flew left off the course at the same spot at DeTessiere and ripped into the B-netting. It took another 30 minutes to get him out of the net and then off the hill. All that time the wind was regaining strength and the fog thickening.

Kroell was airlifted to hospital in Chur where examination revealed damage to his shoulder and arm and a fracture of the humeral head. He was to undergo surgery as soon as possible.

The jury elected to cancel the race. Shortly thereafter the women’s jury followed suit.

The result is the final World Cup standings for super G look the same as they did entering Lenzerheide.  Aksel Lund Svindal picks up his second Cup title (DH&SG) of the season and Tina Maze her third (Overall, GS and SG).

With Julia Mancuso still holding out a chance to overtake Maze for the super G title, there was some mild disappointment among the American camp. Women’s coach Alex Hoedlmoser said, “It’s unfortunate that the race had to get canceled, but the conditions on top were just not good enough. There was a lot of wind blowing and the wind was blowing the snow across the track and you couldn’t really see anything. It would have been too dangerous on a very challenging track like that. so it as the right decision.”

Maze won the title by 55 over Mancuso 420-365, but the US also had Lindsey Vonn in fourth, Leanne Smith 12th and Laurenne Ross 13th, coming within 54points of unseating the Austrians for the Nations Cup in the discipline.

Hank McKee

Senior Editor

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